2018 Prius, 30K service, drain&fill transmission fluid?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by mudworm, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. mudworm

    mudworm Member

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    My car is out of ToyotaCare now, so I'm on my own for services. I have two different opinions from two reputable and trusted independent garages. The base service (as suggested by Toyota schedule) is about $270-$275 at both ($330 at dealer).

    Garage #1: No need to do anything to the transmission fluid (esp. for 2018 Prius). It's marketed as "forever". This garage recommends the drain&fill at 90K and 180K.

    Garage #2:. Do it at 30K, because based on their experience, well kept transmission fluid would keep the car run better in the long run. (They explained in more technical terms, but I already forgot.) This add-on will bring the price to $350.

    Let's not second guess motives. At the pure technical level, which recommendation would you choose to go with? I'm the type of person who buys her car new and drive it to the ground (13 years on last car, still running great, before giving it to a friend in need).

    I only found this thread [Is it really a lifetime of a thing] on Gen-2 forum, and am not sure if it applies to 2018 Prius.

    Thanks!
     
    #1 mudworm, Oct 15, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I'd be going with the TOYOTA Schedule in your service book. Motives - it's hard to look past profit margin.

    As for lifetime - I'm not sure if it will be a thing in 13 years. It will depend on whether the threatened transition to EVs actually happens. Though PRIUS is one of the most efficient vehicles available.
     
  3. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    I changed the trans axle fluid in our 2017 RX450h at 6500 miles and it was already turning purple:cool:.

    I changed the trans axle fluid in our 2019 Prime at 4000 miles and it was a dark red:).

    IMO I don’t see anything wrong with changing it early (at 30k is what some around here recommend anyway);).

    Mind naming the shops you cite for the locals :whistle:?

    Good luck and keep us posted (y).
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    people who have had the fluid lab tested recommend a change to get the break-in materials out.

    intervals are more of a personal decision, but since you keep your cars, if you think you'll have it for more than 150,000 miles, i would change it now, and do more research for the next interval.

    the tranny is very similar to all prius years, so disregard any technical lingo offered by uneducated mechanics.

    and disregard years kept, it is strictly based on miles.
     
  5. sclevine

    sclevine Member

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    I just hit 100,000 miles on my 2017. The dealer has never recommended transmission fluid flush till now. Was just done at my 100k service.
     
  6. royrose

    royrose Active Member

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    How many miles did you put on it in those 13 years?

    Having read the previous thread, it sounds like you understand the issues. To me it comes down to peace of mind. It may not be necessary but it is an easy, low cost procedure. Up to you.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure what the $275 is for. The 30,000 mile service is basically an oil and filter change plus tire rotation and an inspection (maybe more thorough brake inspection but shouldn't take much extra time during rotation). My dealer charged the same as any other oil/filter/rotation service.
     
    #6 royrose, Oct 15, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  7. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Avoid garage #2.
    Recommending un-needed services is NOT a good sign.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Impossible to answer, not knowing what you mean by "base service". Do you know?

    Read through the schedule, determine what's involved at each service interval. Determine how much of what's in the service is crucial, and how much is fluff. Toyota includes a number of cover-their-butt items, that really never get done, or are just paid lip-service. The inspections in particular. The various level checks are either pointless, or VERY easily done by owner.

    On the flip side, full brake inspection is specificed in the US schedule, every 30K miles or 3 years. This is a relatively labour intensive service, entailing upwards of $400 to be done right. Both dealerships and owners seem to be prone to "forget" this service, enabling each other.

    I've gone through the US event-by-event format schedule, and converted it to a spreadsheet format table. I've not altered it, just presenting it as-is.


    Your question, basically: is a transaxle fluid change worthwhile, when to do it, and how much should it cost?

    I would do a first transaxle fluid change as soon as possible. I've done several, and the first, at roughly 12 months and 15K kms, was by far the darkest appearing drain fluid.

    My sense: the brake in period is toughest, then you can stretch the interval, or even declare it "lifetime". I would suggest to do it at:

    1 year or 10K miles (whichever comes first)
    5 year or 50K miles
    Perhaps one more, well down the road.

    Cost? I DIY, which involves four liters of Toyota ATF WS fluid ($9.14 CDN apiece) and a couple of fill/drain bolt washers (around $3 apiece, kinda steep...). Even using floor jack and safety stands (4, to have the car raised and level) it's at most a 2 hour chore. For a dealership with a full lift, it would take roughly 1/2 hour. It shouldn't cost more than $100.

    I've attached a repair manual excerpt on the transaxle fluid change. Note too: Toyota recommends to only use fluid from freshly opened bottles. And cautious strongly: to only use Toyota ATF WS fluid.
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    For possibly the hundredth time.......color alone is NOT a good indicator of the quality of any automotive fluid.
    The factory might even put in something slightly different than you can buy for the replacement.

    In my opinion, that is just simply a total waste of time and money.
    But if it somehow makes you feel better...............
     
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  10. jehbie

    jehbie Active Member

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    Lifetime in Toyota’s world is the end of the warranty period. Since you plan on keeping it longer you should do the drain and fill. I suggest doing it every 60,000 miles. I did it that way on my 2008 Prius which was in perfect condition when I sold it in 2018 at 150,000 miles, and I will do it on my 2018 Prius which only has 14,000 miles to date.
     
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  11. royrose

    royrose Active Member

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    Mendel, where do you get this info? The 2018 maintenance manual says "Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs" for every 5,000 mile service. For the 30,000 mile service it adds "Inspect thickness measurement and disc runout". I don't see where this specifies an inspection that is labor intensive and would cost anywhere near $400. Inspecting and possibly lubricating the pins is a good idea but the service manual says nothing about it. (I got this info from the manual on the Toyota TIS site.)

    By what authority do you make this statement. Just curious. I believe that you are expressing your own personal opinion and have no inside knowledge of "Toyota's world". My personal opinion differs from yours.
     
  12. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    What is more labour intensive is if the fluid is changed - the inspection should be straightforward.
     
  13. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Mine too. He is just "rabble rousing".
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Yeah I am guilty of making inference, that the more detailed inspection wording constitutes a full inspection, to the point that the caliper is unbolted and pulled off. You got me there. I'm coming from Honda, where a full inspection is spec'd, every 2~3 years.

    You're right, Toyota does not give a full instruction in the schedule. I did ask a local dealership Service Manager for an opinion, and he said the recommend the full inspection every 2~3 years: 2 if you're going skiing a lot, 3 if you stay around town.

    I think Toyota is remiss here. They do tell you a full litany of things in the Repair Manual (including a full caliper tear-down), but there's no (or very nebulous) connection to the maintenance schedule.

    Honda (in comparison) uses and expression Brake Inspection, and in the Shop Manual has a Brake Inspection section.
     
  15. mudworm

    mudworm Member

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    Thanks all for chiming in. I see that it is still not a clear cut subject.

    By "Base service", I'm referring to the very clear instruction provided by Toyota owner's portal for 30K service. Basically a bunch of inspections, tire rotation, oil and filter change, engine filter change, and cabin air filter change (listing from my memory).

    I think I'll go for Garage #2 and do get the drain & fill at 30k. I put >270k miles on my previous car and I intend to keep Prius very long. My type of driving (to remote mountains) prevent me from getting a plugin. I trust both garages, but #2 provides pickup and drop off, which works well for my work schedule.
     
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  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Borrowing from the spreadsheet summary I posted above, this is the 30K service:

    upload_2019-10-16_13-0-32.png

    I know I'm being cynical, but that is really all they're likely to do. The brake inspection is iffy too.

    There's two levels of brake inspection: a cursory "visual" inspection at every 5K interval (basically a glance when the wheels are being rotated), and at 30K an inspection which mentions checking the rotor thickness and runout. Full stop.

    I take this as a break-down in communication by Toyota, and hopefully the service departments take initiative, pull off the brake calipers, clean and lube the caliper slide pins, clean/inspect/relube the pads/shims, clean the caliper contact points. Anyway, that's what I would do.

    That, all in, would cost at least $400. Owners balk, dealerships accomodate them, do the usual cursary visual inspection of the brakes. And another 50~60K miles down the road, you can find serious problems.

    I didn't highlight the myriad "inspections". Some of them are near pointless, and the worthwile ones, drive shaft boot condition for example, are items that can be checked VERY quickly in the course of the oil change.

    The filters, engine and cabin: do yourself a favour, inspect those yourself. Anybody can do that. Inspecting them yourself, I think you'll be surprised at how good they look, and if so: just leave them; it's not chiselled in stone that you need to replace perfectly good filters.
     
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  17. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Your manual, I believe says:
    upload_2019-10-17_9-13-16.png upload_2019-10-17_9-13-58.png

    Which doesn't talk at all about changing Transmission fluid (or brake).

    The only mention of changing Transmission or differential fluids are:
    "Driving while towing, using a car-top carrier, or heavy vehicle :
    Replace automatic transmission fluid
    Replace front differential oil
    Tighten nuts and bolts on chassis and body" - at 60,000 miles and 120,000 miles.
     
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Toyota Canada advocates the brake fluid change, fwiw. I did one just coming up on 3 years now, and have a couple of pints of Toyota DOT3 fluid in the garage now. I followed @NutzAboutBolts invaluable video, for brake fluid change without Techstream. It pretty much follows the Repair Manual, but I would not have got up the nerve, without that video.

    The video instruction for putting the car in invalid mode is much better than the terse instruction in the Repair Manual. Ditto for the bleeding procedure, in particular on the front wheels, which are a old-school, and a little tricky.

    I'll do it when I have all the wheels off for snow tire install. My wife helps pushing the brake pedal, and the whole thing takes maybe an hour. The car's tied up for the full afternoon, what with raising and lowering, and the tire swap (I wash the tires coming off too). For about $15 for the fluid, an hour's work with very simple tools, well worth it.

    Tools:

    Funnel, for adding fluid to the reservoir. Not mandatory, but makes it easier.

    A largish hypodermic (without needle), with a tube pushed on, and a skinny spigot at the end of the tube, for basting fluid out of the reservoir.

    A large plastic jar with lid, with a hole drill through the lid (1 kg Kirkland Mayo jar, for me)
    Approx. 2 feet of tubing, with a brake bleed valve grommet pushed on the end. (a rubber ball-and-socket joint that grips on the bleed valve, not mandatory, but good to use)
     
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  19. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    So.....are you also going to do the other fluid changes at 1/3 or less of the recommended interval ?
    If not, why not ?? The logic of this escapes me.
     
  20. Elt31987

    Elt31987 Member

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    60K Miles in the owners manual under special operating conditions. So Toyota even admits that under some circumstances that it should be changed, aka its not forever fluid. I did mine at 60K at an independent Toyota/Lexus shop for 95 bucks total. Its just a drain and refill using Toyota WS fluid ONLY!!!
     
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